By Edwin Fidelis – EM TV News, Kokopo
A search operation is underway after a boat capsized off the coast of Duke of York Islands in East New Britain province yesterday morning.
One woman died and her body has been recovered, while three others are still missing at sea.
The boat was carrying passengers bound for a funeral service on Duke of York Islands when it ran into rough seas.
A team from the Provincial disaster office resumed their search today between the Kokopo and Namatanai waters for the three missing persons still lost at sea.
The three people still missing, was an elderly man and his 7-year-old grandson. His mother died from the tragedy yesterday. Her body has been recovered.
The third missing person’s identity still remains unknown.
“The first wave struck the boat and overturned…a few seconds later, the second wave hit the boat again, and separated the passengers who were already drifted apart…”said Olga Torliu, a relative of the deceased women.
Strong winds and rough seas have been experienced in the province over the last 5 days.
Stern warnings have been issued by the provincial disaster office cautioning seafarers to avoid travelling by sea between Kokopo and the outer islands until the weather improves.
The boat mishap is not the first and it won’t be the last.
Yesterday’s incident has again brought to light the small craft act which has yet to be be enforced by the National Maritime Safety Authority.